Gary Winston Lineker OBE (/ˈlɪnəkər/; born 30 November 1960) is an English former professional footballer and current sports broadcaster. He is regarded as one of the greatest English strikers. His media career began with the BBC, where he has presented the flagship football programme Match of the Day since the late 1990s, the longest tenure of any MOTD presenter. Lineker is also the BBC’s lead presenter for live football matches, including its coverage of international tournaments. He has also previously worked for Al Jazeera Sports, Eredivisie Live, NBC Sports Network, and BT Sport‘s coverage of the UEFA Champions League.
Lineker began his football career at Leicester City in 1978, and finished as the First Division‘s joint top goalscorer in 1984–85. He then moved to league champions Everton where he won both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards in his debut season, before moving to Spanish giants Barcelona. With Barcelona, he won the 1987-1988 Copa del Rey and the 1989 European Cup Winners’ Cup. He joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1989, and won his second FWA Footballer of the Year and won the FA Cup, his first and only major trophy in English football. Lineker’s final club was Nagoya Grampus Eight; he retired in 1994 after two seasons at the Japanese side.
Lineker made his England debut in 1984, earning 80 caps and scoring 48 goals over an eight-year international career. He is England’s joint third-highest scorer, behind Wayne Rooney and Bobby Charlton, level with Harry Kane, and his international goals-to-games ratio remains one of the best for the country.  His six goals in the 1986 FIFA World Cup made him the tournament’s top scorer, receiving the Golden Boot, the only time an Englishman achieved this until Harry Kane in the 2018 World Cup. Lineker was again integral to England’s progress to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, scoring another four goals. He still holds England’s record for goals in the FIFA World Cup.
Lineker is also the only player to have been the top scorer in England with three clubs: Leicester City, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. Notably, he never received a yellow or red card during his 16-year career. As a result, he was honoured in 1990 with the FIFA Fair Play Award. In a senior career which spanned 16 years and 567 competitive games, Lineker scored a total of 330 goals, including 282 goals at club level. After his retirement from football he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. A keen supporter of Leicester City, he led a consortium that invested in his old club, saving it from bankruptcy, and was appointed honorary vice-president.
Lineker was born in Leicester, the son of Margaret P. (Abbs) and Barry Lineker. He was given his middle name in honour of Winston Churchill, with whom he shares a birthday. He has one brother, Wayne, who is two years his junior. Lineker grew up with his family in the city, playing football with Wayne. Their father was a greengrocer, as was their grandfather William and great-grandfather George, in Leicester. Barry Lineker ran Lineker’s fruit and veg stall in Leicester Market, and as a child and a young player Gary regularly helped out on the stall.
Lineker first attended Caldecote Road School (Caldecote Juniors), Braunstone in Leicester (east of the Meridian Centre). He then went to the City of Leicester Boys’ Grammar School (now City of Leicester College) on Downing Drive in Evington, owing to his preference for football rather than rugby, which was the main sport of most schools near his home. Lineker was equally talented at both football and cricket. From the ages of 11 to 16 he captained the Leicestershire Schools cricket team, and had felt that he had a higher chance of succeeding at it rather than football.[ He later stated on They Think It’s All Over that as a teenager he idolised former England captain David Gower, who was playing for Leicestershire at the time. During his youth he played for Aylestone Park Youth, later becoming the club’s president.
Lineker left school with four O Levels. One of his teachers wrote on his report card that he “concentrates too much on football” and that he would “never make a living at that”. He then joined the youth academy at Leicester City in 1976.
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